Religion and Weltanschauung: The Politics of Religion and the Religiosity of the Political

Monday, 11 July 2016: 11:25
Location: Hörsaal 48 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Annette SCHNABEL, Heinrich-Heine-Universitaet Dueseldorf, Germany
Heiko BEYER, Institut for Social Sciences, Germany
During last years, the politization of religion became more widespread: the recent emergence of the Islamic State (IS) is the most palpable manifestation of this trend, the take-over of social care by faith based communities, Churches and charities a more common one. Instead of a ‘banalization of religiosity’ we observe that religion regains importance as an ideology (‘weltanschauung’) showing political consequences.

The presentation investigates this peculiar elective affinity of religion and politics theoretically and empirically.

We want to contribute to a better understanding of how and why political agendas seem so compatible with religious ones and vice versa. First, we provide an analytical distinction between the concepts of ‘weltanschauung’ and ‘religion’, defining the former as constituted by beliefs about the social and the latter by beliefs about the transcendental. Subsequently we investigate mutual structural elements, as Manichean categorizations of good/evil, utopian ideas of salvation, and the ontological construction of meaning.

The empirical part of our presentation presents evidence for these considerations. Using European Value Survey Data (EVS), we show correlations between different manifestations of weltanschauung and religious beliefs. We also tackle their embeddedness in social practices and memberships. Although the specific behavioral manifestations of religion and weltanschauung show differences they share a reinforcing function of the underlying belief system.

The presentation contributes to understanding of how religion becomes politicized and politics get religiously loaded and the mechanisms behind.